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New bike lane pedals into focus

The local Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) committee hosted a bike lane demonstration Friday at Freedom Veterans Memorial Park. City officials and community members attended the demonstration to discuss and see the possibility of adding a bike path from South Shore Drive to the grade. (Erin Trester/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s Statewide Health Improvement Program Committee (SHIP) hosted a South Shore Drive bike lane demonstration Friday morning at Freedom Veterans Memorial Park.

The city’s Parks and Recreation board had recently met with representatives from the SHIP Committee to talk about how a bike lane could be added along the street. On Friday, a road block along the route allowed for a visual presentation.

DeTasha Place, Nobles County Health Education and SHIP coordinator, said the committee’s goal is to make physical activity an easier choice by adding lanes for bicycle traffic.

Traffic, parking and bike lanes on both side of the street were temporarily marked to allow attendees of the demonstration to see the configuration and visualize how the bike path could function.

City Administrator Craig Clark discussed what the layout of the road would be if a bike path was established, as well as some possible concerns that would need to be addressed.

“There’s some consideration as far as the cracks and where the center line would be,” Clark said. “As far as the public’s concern, there would only be parking available on one side of the street, and we need to be cognizant of how that will impact the residents. We thought it was important to lay it out to see what a proposal would look like.” 

Currently, South Shore Drive has an 11-foot driving lane with eight feet of parking. Worthington City Engineer Dwayne Haffield said the potential layout of the bike path could affect drivers. 

“This will not give you the sense that you can go 35 (miles per hour) comfortably, and that’s part of the idea — you will feel different driving these roads,” Haffield explained. 

“Cars are not king, and that may not be accepted by everybody, but that’s where we went from,” Haffield added. “These roads are meant for cars so that’s what we’re doing to now look at other factors and transportation.” 

SHIP Committee member Aaron Hagen said the demonstration was just a first step in the process, which started a conversation. 

“Ideally, we would like this to go from South Shore Drive to the grade, and then if that passes we can look at doing this in other areas in Worthington,” Hagen said. 

City leaders had many questions including current location of mailboxes, which would affect which side of the street would have parking allowed, as well as signage, state standards and funding.

Clark said the cost to “stripe” the road would be $20,000, with a cost of $2,000 a year for maintenance. He also addressed the number of no parking signs that would need to be added. 

“There would need to be one (sign) every 150 to 200 feet,” Clark said. “Council could certainly narrow those up a bit, but I know that was an issue on First Avenue Southwest.” 

While there are more questions and concerns to hash out, Clark said during the demonstration that this is just a beginning point of the bike lane discussion.

“This is not intended as a final solution, but it’s at least more of a baby step to encourage more biking and walking,” Clark said. 

Community leaders all agreed that there would need to be more public discussions and forums before decisions are made.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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